There is a recurring revisionist narrative from people like Kate Hoey and Jim Allister that would portray government in the six counties up until direct rule as fair and democratic. She would assert for instance that James Craig was an impartial PM who represented the interests of the whole community. There is nothing further from the truth. Meanwhile Jim Allister would argue that republicans had an alternative to the recent campaign and states: “Under the Ireland Act 1949 Irish unity was available if the elected Stormont legislature consented. Under the NI Constitution Act 1973 the only hurdle was a democratic referendum.”
This narrative ignores the fact that the six counties was an artificially created entity aimed at ensuring a unionist majority loyal to Britain. It ignores the fact that all the institutions of government, the civil service, the judiciary, the police, B-specials and prison service were overwhelmingly Protestant and that the special powers act and other legislation was aimed exclusively at suppressing nationalism and republicanism. It ignores how these institutions came together to brutally suppress even modest agitation aimed at reform and civil rights.
For the younger generation the following quotes will give a more accurate picture of what type of society existed here:
“At a meeting in Derry to select candidates for the Corporation Mr H McLaughlin said that for the past 48 years since the foundation of his firm there had been only one Roman Catholic employed – and that was a case of mistaken identity.” Mr H. McLaughlin, Unionist Party, September 1946 – reported in: Derry People, September 26 1946.
“The nationalist majority in the county, ie Fermanagh, notwithstanding a reduction of 336 in the year, stands at 3,684. We must ultimately reduce and liquidate that majority. This county, I think it can be safely said, is a unionist county. The atmosphere is unionist. The boards and properties are nearly all controlled by unionists. But there is still this millstone [the nationalist majority] around our necks.” EC Ferguson, Unionist Party, then Stormont MP, April 1948.
“When it is remembered that the first Minister [of Home Affairs], Sir Dawson Bates, held that post for 22 years and had such a prejudice against Catholics that he made it clear to his Permanent Secretary that he did not want his most juvenile clerk, or typist, if a Papist, assigned for duty to his ministry, what could one expect when it came to filling posts in the judiciary, clerkships of the Crown and Peace and Crown Solicitors?”Mr GC Duggan, Comptroller and Auditor-General in Northern Ireland (1945-49)
SEAN O FIACH
Unionism could be on the path to self-destruction which will end the union altogether. Devolution in the long term would stabilise Northern Ireland within the union, while the failure of devolution could ensure the very opposite. All one has to do is look at the evidence for this assertion. The breakdown and degeneration in public services in Northern Ireland is there for everyone to see, especially in the health service as the province drifts into administrative and funding chaos. Waiting lists are a dime a dozen and the good old NHS is in serious trouble, while the deadlock continues. The position now as it currently stands is back to square one before David Trimble and Seamus Mallon faced each other in Stormont in 1998. Unionism has found two new opponents – the EU and its own government. All republicans have to do is sit back and watch unionism implode and tear itself apart without doing anything. Unionism cannot seem to recognise the mess they are in while losing all credibility. Unionism is also giving out mixed messages, by making demands about the protocol and then saying it does not want the protocol at all. Nothing will satisfy unionism it seems as it struggles to stay in the union by its insidious path it is currently taking, as London gets more and more disinterested and fed up in Northern Ireland. Unionism is destroying itself from within and doesn’t know where to go from here, only to refuse to share power and block the institutions from getting anywhere. Unionists always worry about a united Ireland coming about and their need to fight hard to stay joined. Inadvertently, they might just bring it about by their refusal to agree to anything and their inability to bring fragmented unionism together. This could be the beginning of the end for unionism and union, as Northern Ireland heads into an indefinite abyss at the far side of the galaxy a million miles from anything. The dissolution of Northern Ireland is well underway and unionists are making it happen. Unionism ironically now represents the biggest threat to bringing about a united Ireland by its stonewalling, not republicans.
Shanbally, Co Cork
Support postal workers’ strike
I am writing to express my solidarity with the Royal Mail workers as they prepare to strike for a decent pay rise.
Around 115,000 postal workers, who are members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), will begin the first of a four-day industrial action on August 26.
Royal Mail recently reported annual profits of around £750 million and yet they continue to treat their workers with contempt.
This company had no issue paying some £400m to shareholders or paying millions in bosses’ salaries, but it is refusing to pay workers a reasonable wage.
Skyrocketing inflation is making it more difficult to make ends meet. The postal workers deserve our full support. These are essential workers who should be treated with respect.
It is workers that keep our society functioning.
Workers already paid for the last financial crisis when governments bailed out the private sector to the tune of billions. Workers now need a bailout of their own.
GERRY CARROLL MLA
People Before Profit
McCabe clan gathering
The annual Clan McCabe Rally will be held, under the auspices of the Clan McCabe Society, next Sunday (August 21) in the Slieve Russell Hotel in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, starting at 3pm.
This year’s guest presentation will be by Mr Oliver Rodgers, who will present ‘Fr Ultan’s Ireland’ – some fascinating film footage, by a McCabe priest, of life on a small farm in rural Cavan in the 1940/50s. This will be of interest both to those who may remember those times, or those who have never experienced them. The rally will also hear about research into McCabe heritage from members of the society, including an update from US member Hugh McCabe about the McCabe DNA project.
There will also be an extensive display of documents and memorabilia relating to famous (and ordinary) McCabes.
All McCabes, and anyone with an interest in the name, are invited to attend.
Admission is free.